Jerry Falwell Jr. Blasts Critics as 'Hypocrites' for Judging His Pro-Trump Photo in Front of Playboy Cover

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. and his wife pictured with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in New York City. | (Photo: Twitter/Jerry Falwell Jr)

Jerry Falwell Jr. shot back at critics of a photo of himself with Donald Trump that had a Playboy magazine cover in the background, saying they are the "same hypocrites who accused Jesus ...."

Falwell, president of Liberty University, posted the photo to his Twitter account Tuesday. The photo shows Falwell's wife, Becki, and Trump in front of a wall of magazine covers featuring Trump, including a Playboy magazine cover.

"Honored to introduce @realDonaldTrump at religious leader summit in NYC today! He did incredible job! @beckifalwell," read the tweet.

In response to criticism on social media, Falwell posted another tweet Tuesday evening arguing that his visit with Trump was in line with how Jesus witnessed to society's marginalized.

"Honored for same hypocrites who accused Jesus of being a friend of publicans and sinners to be targeting me over a decades old mag cover! TY," replied Falwell.

Falwell was one of hundreds of evangelical leaders who met with Trump Tuesday in New York City as part of a "conversation" about the real estate mogul's presidential campaign.

Falwell's willingness to be photographed with a Playboy cover nearby stands in apparent contrast to his father's denounciation of the adult publication.

In 1981, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Sr. was quoted by the Sarasota Herald-Tribute as denouncing then-fellow Southern Baptist and former president Jimmy Carter's decision to be interviewed by Playboy.

"Giving an interview to Playboy magazine was lending the credence and the dignity of the highest office in the land to a salacious, vulgar magazine that did not even deserve the time of his day," stated Falwell, Sr.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Jerry Falwell Jr. at a campaign rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, January 31, 2016. | (Photo: REUTERS/Scott Morgan)

Many were quick to point out on social media the ironic presence of the Playboy cover given the socially conservative viewpoints of both Falwell and his famous outspoken father.

"Cool story, @JerryJrFalwell. Notice anything next to @beckifalwell? That's porn. Sad!," tweeted the handle #NeverTrump ‏@chevesligon.

"@JerryJrFalwell @realDonaldTrump @beckifalwell Nice Playboy cover in the shot! Really brings out colours of the hypocrisy on display," commented JordanHeath-Rawlings.

"@JerryJrFalwell I don't think Jesus (or any man of God) would approve of the image just over @beckifalwell's shoulder ... #NEVERTRUMP," noted Michael Malone, with the handle @princeof416.

In January, Falwell announced that he endorsed Trump's presidential campaign, garnering much criticism from other evangelicals and Liberty University alumni.

"He is a successful executive and entrepreneur, a wonderful father and a man who I believe can lead our country to greatness again," stated Falwell.

Falwell's social media exchanges over his photo with Trump and the Playboy cover come as it was announced that he along with other major evangelical leaders will be part of a religious advisory board organized by Trump.

In an email sent out to supporters on Tuesday afternoon, the Trump campaign explained that those on the board were not asked to endorse Trump in order to be selected.

"Rather, the formation of the board represents Donald J. Trump's endorsement of those diverse issues important to Evangelicals and other Christians, and his desire to have access to the wise counsel of such leaders as needed," read the emailed announcement.

"Mr. Trump has received widespread support from Evangelical leaders, communities and voters, winning the majority of the Evangelical vote throughout the primaries."

In addition to Falwell, listed board members include former Focus on the Family president Dr. James Dobson, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., Bishop Harry Jackson, First Baptist Church of Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress, Southern Evangelical Seminary President Richard Land and Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed.

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